India notifies National Policy on Marine Fisheries

India has officially issued a Gazette Notification on the National Policy on Marine Fisheries, 2017 (NPMF, 2017). In a Notification, dated 1 May 2017, the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare states that the overarching goal of the NPMF, 2017 is to ensure the health and ecological integrity of the marine living resources of India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) through sustainable harvests for the benefit of present and future generations of the nation.

The Notification recognizes that the FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF or the Code) is today the most significant of the non-binding agreements in the global fisheries sector.

The Government will ensure that the Code and its Principles are well integrated in all its activities that relate to the marine fisheries sector, says the Notification.

It also calls attention to the Voluntary Guidelines on Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) whose objectives are expected to be achieved through the promotion of a human-rights-based approach by empowering small-scale fishing communities

The Government will make all efforts to implement the provisions of the SSF Guidelines, keeping in view the complexities and divisions within the small-scale sector, particularly those involved in sustenance fishing, the Notification states.

The overall strategy of the NPMF, 2017 is based on seven pillars, namely, sustainable development, socioeconomic upliftment of fishers, the principle of subsidiarity, partnership, inter-generational equity, gender justice and the precautionary approach.

These seven pillars will guide the actions of various stakeholders in meeting the Vision and Mission set for the marine fisheries sector of the country. While fishers will be at the core of this Policy, actions will also be guided by the ‘Public Trust Doctrine’, the Notification states.

The full text of the Notification is available at:


Africa feeling the heat of climate change

Researchers are still trying to learn why the population of African penguins has dropped precipitously over the last 15 yearssome estimates say by 90 per centbut most agree that climate change is a major factor in the decline of this iconic African species.

There may be additional forces at work, including pollution, overfishing, predators and disease, but warming currents on both sides of the continent are driving the huge shoals of sardines and anchovies on which the penguins dine farther south toward cooler waters.

Small-scale artisanal fishing and tourism are critical economic pillars for communities along Africa’s 30,500-km coastline. Many of these are grappling with the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels, warming waters and increasing ocean acidification, which have led to greater coastal erosion that has damaged infrastructure in West Africa.

A warming Indian Ocean has damaged coral reefs that are essential for tourism, fishing, and the protection of the shoreline.

African countries will be participating in the Ocean Conference to be held this year in New York from 5-9 June, which is aimed at promoting the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Life below Water).

The goal calls for action to address a range of ocean issues, including protecting marine biodiversity, reducing overfishing and addressing ocean acidification and marine pollution.

by Dan Shepard, AfricaRenewal/UN


International Association for Women in the Seafood Industry (WSI)

WSI, an International Association for Women in the Seafood Industry, was created in December 2016 by seafood and gender-issues specialists. WSI’s main aims are to highlight women’s contribution to the seafood industry, to raise awareness of gender issues and to promote professional equality between men and women. Its founding members are based in Paris, London and Singapore.

Worldwide, the seafood industryall activities included gives work to 120 mn workers of which half are women. Yet, there is evidence that female workers are over-represented in lowest-paid and lowest-valued positions while very few hold leadership positions. Women are essential contributors to this important food-supplying industry, playing a critical role in the value chain. But they largely remain invisible, including to policymakers. The international trading of seafood products offers many examples of gender inequalities and barriers to women’s advancement.

We are often told that the gender inequalities we describe are not specific to the seafood industry but quite common in all male-dominated businesses. True. But this is precisely the point we want to make: the perception of the seafood industry being “a male-dominated industry is cultural. On a global scale 50 per cent of all seafood workers along value chains are women.

The situation may vary by country, yet in both the North and the South, in developed and developing countries, inequalities have been evidenced. At WSI, we are more than ever convinced that there is a need to increase awareness about women’s role in this industry and to recognize the true value they bring. These are the challenges that WSI has decided to take on.

In order to boost gender-equality projects, and because good initiatives need to be disseminated, WSI will be preparing a survey compiling and analyzing positive gender-equality practices developed by private companies and public bodies. The first WSI Annual Watch will be released at the end of this year.

WSI is an international not-for-profit association incorporated under French association law (“Loi 1901). Since its creation in December 2016, it has already received the support of men and women, private companies and NGOs from the United States, Norway, Egypt, Myanmar, Thailand, Senegal, Cameroun, the UK, Maldives, France, Australia and Iceland.

by Marie Christine Monfort, and Pascale Baelde ( /


Making Fisheries Sustainable

The concept paper for the partnership dialogue 4, prepared in response to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution 70/303 on making fisheries sustainable, is covering SDG targets 14.4 and 14.6. The concept paper for this partnership dialogue is based on inputs received from Member States, the UN system and other stakeholders. Given the word limit for the concept paper, not all inputs have been included in their entirety, but they can be accessed under:

More than 3 bn people rely on fish for an important source of animal protein, and 300 mn people rely on marine fisheries for their livelihoods. In developing and developed countries alike, the consumption of fish is increasing both per capita and in absolute terms.

Total capture production in marine waters was 81.5 mn tonnes in 2014, a slight increase on the previous two years, with 13 out of the 25 major fishing countries increasing their catches by more than 100,000 tonnes, compared with 2013. According to the FAO analysis of assessed commercial fish stocks, the share of fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels decreased from 90 per cent in 1974 to 69 per cent in 2013. Overfishing, including discards, destructive fishing practices, and “ghost fishing killing fish with discarded or lost equipmentleads to a loss of US$80 bn annually in potential revenue.

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, a severe stress on global fisheries, is responsible for roughly 11 to 26 mn tonnes of fish catches and US$10-22 bn in revenue. Although emphasis is often put on IUU fishing activities occurring in areas under national jurisdiction, IUU fishing on the high seas is a serious concern.

Aquaculture production, a rapidly growing sector, currently provides half of the fish products covered in global statistics and in this regard, States and regions should be encouraged to have effective governance and regulatory arrangements in support of sustainable development.

Fish and fisheries are important to livelihoods and food security and nutrition. It is estimated that fish accounts for 17 per cent animal protein and 6.7 per cent of all protein consumed globally. Many millions of people around the world find a source of income and livelihood in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Estimates indicate that 56.6 mn people were engaged in the primary sector of capture fisheries and aquaculture. In 2014, small-scale fisheries provided work to 90 per cent of the people employed in capture fisheries.

While the overall trend in the sustainability of fisheries is overwhelmingly negative, some progress has been made with regard to the sustainability of some stocks, particularly through effective regulation and monitoring. A number of actions are being taken to improve the sustainability of stocks, including through increasing understanding of resources and the ecosystems they inhabit, strengthening institutions responsible for the management of fisheries, improving regulatory regimes, increasing compliance, and addressing economic and social factors which contribute to overfishing. Increasing attention is also being paid to improving the overall health and resilience of marine ecosystems to maintain and improve their yield in the face of increasing anthropogenic stressors.

Significant progress has been made in the identification of vulnerable marine ecosystem (VME) indicator species, and in the development of conservation and management measures (CMMs) to protect these ecosystems, including those of bottom fisheries and deep-sea fish stocks. The measures include thresholds levels for VME indicator species, move-on rules and temporary or permanent closures, closed areas (including those with vulnerable ecosystems), restrictions on vessel types and time spent fishing, restrictions on legal mesh sizes and the size of fish that can be caught, restrictions on bycatch, catch and effort reporting, gear restrictions, measures for exploratory fisheries, precautionary catch limits, and prohibitions on directed fishing. RFMO/As and States are co-operating on marine scientific research and data collection and capacity-building activities for developing States.

Subsidies and other types of support measures to the fishing industry are granted for a variety of purposes. In many cases, they are not directed at increasing fishing capacity or effort as such. They can, if properly designed, support crew safety; support processing by local populations; enable value addition; facilitate the establishment of fish-stocks management systems; finance less harmful fishing methods; and promote the adoption of more sustainable technologies and, therefore, provide for the restoration and rehabilitation of ecosystems. On the other hand, many fisheries subsidies actively contribute to overcapacity and depletion of fish stocks, and subsidies can be damaging and trade-distorting, even in effectively managed fisheries. Subsidies that encourage overcapacity and overfishing result in losses for States, and those losses are often borne by communities dependent on fishery resources for their livelihood and food security and by taxpayers.

Subsidies may benefit industrial fleets or even, in some cases, illegal activities. Subsidies that contribute to the depletion of coastal fisheries cause fishing fleets and enterprises to look further and fish deeper beyond the territorial sea. Consequently, subsidized capacity and effort may be diverted to new species and areas, which can perpetuate some of the aforementioned problems. It would be important to achieve a successful outcome at the WTO’s Ministerial meeting in December 2017, so that the WTO can positively contribute to the 2030 Agenda by meeting the 2020 deadline set in target 14.6. In doing so, the development and livelihood needs of developing countries, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and SIDS need to be taken into consideration. It is also important to encourage the implementation of fisheries-subsidies provisions in other trade agreements, including at the regional and bilateral level, in a manner that contributes to SDG 14.6. As such, a need persists to build coherence and structured dialogue between the trade community, the environmental communities and the fisheries-management communities.

National governments, when undertaking internal reforms, should be encouraged to consider SDG 14.6, regardless of whether there is advancement at the multilateral level. Existing fisheries subsidies could be redirected to support fisheries management, and educate communities, among other beneficial effects.

In addition to global and national action, in line with the ecosystem approach, sub-regional and regional co-operation is an absolute necessity for sustainable management of fisheries and effective implementation of the relevant SDGs targets.

Strengthening the effectiveness of reporting, monitoring and surveillance of fisheries subsidies at global, regional and national levels could be an important underpinning to fisheries-subsidies negotiations and reform. Capacity building and the provision of technical assistance plays an important role in the implementation and realization of SDGs targets 14.4 and 14.6, including, in this instance, in the regulation of trade in fisheries.

Source: Concept Paper Partnership dialogue 4: Making fisheries sustainable


ICSF’s Documentation Centre ( has a range of information resources that are regularly updated. A selection:


FAO. 2017. Social protection to foster sustainable management of natural resources and reduce poverty in fisheries-dependent communities. Report of the FAO Technical Workshop. 17–18 November 2015, Rome. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. Rome, Italy. 328p.

The technical workshop “Social protection to foster sustainable management of natural resources and reduce poverty in fisheries-dependent communities gathered 29 participants to discuss available evidence and make recommendations for the work programme of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department in relation to social protection and poverty reduction in fisheries-dependent communities.

Arnason, Ragnar., Kobayashi, Mimako,. Fontaubert, Charlotte de. 2017. The Sunken Billions Revisited Progress and Challenges in Global Marine Fisheries. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and The World Bank,Washington. 117p.

This report makes a very clear case for the need for reform. It does not analyze policies, financing, or the socioeconomic impacts of embarking on such reform.

Greenpeace. Turn The Tide: Human Rights Abuses and Illegal Fishing in Thailand’s Overseas Fishing Industry. Greenpeace Southeast Asia. 86p.

Turn the Tide outlines Greenpeace Southeast Asia’s investigations into IUU fishing, trafficking and other rights abusesincluding fatalities resulting from negligence aboard Thai distant-water fishing vessels operating in the Indian Ocean.

The Ocean Conference. 2017. Concept Paper: Partnership dialogue 5:

Concept paper for the Partnership dialogue 5, prepared in response to the UNGA resolution 70/303, on increasing economic benefits to SIDS and LDCs and providing access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets, in covering SDG targets 14.7 and 14.b.


Women in Small-scale Fisheries in Tanzania: Challenges and Opportunities

This video case study explores the challenges that women involved in fisheries activities face on a day-to-day basis in Tanzania

Role and Place of Women in Fisheries Value Chain: Case of Dagaa Fishery in the Lake Victoria

The video explores the role and place of women along the fisheries value chain.


Earth Summit

The United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development ended with declarations and agreements which did not meet the expectations generated during the preparatory process. Political compromise was the mechanism most often used by participant diplomats, while the proposals put forward by academic centres and social movements were, for the most part, postponed for a more propitious occasion- That occasion will surely be found in those areas of struggle where action is still necessary, given that the poor continue to become ever poorer, oceans continue to be contaminated, gasses saturate the atmosphere, and species are led to extinction, while the future of humanity on this planet-ship Earth is uncertain.

The fishworkers of the world have, however, gained a degree of recognition in Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 and the door is open for the struggle of their organizations in each country to achieve the application of the agreements signed in the 1992 Rio Conference. Those accords require that fish workers be respected in terms of their own cultures, that there be exclusive fishing zones, special credit mechanisms and technology transfer, representation in decision-making organisms, respect for and participation of women in fishing activities and fishworker organizations.

ICSF continues its struggle for those rights in diverse areas of the world, specially in meetings of fishing crews in Latin America, in Task Force activities in defense of Philippine Distant Water Vessel crews in the Taiwanese fleets, in the search for the causes of the diseases which attack the fresh water fish cultivated in Asia, and in the creation of communication networks among French, Irish and British fish workers. The European Economic Community continues to open new fishing zones through so-called “second generation treaties, notably that established with Argentina in 1992, which will have significant impact both in Europe and the countries of the South, specially in Latin America and Africa.

Both Peruvian and Mexican artisan fishworkers have made progress toward new forms of organization and are seeking ways to become truly independent in their decisions. A new artisan fish worker union has been formed in Madagascar, while their fellows in Senegal have made progress along similar lines.

– from Editorial in SAMUDRA Report No. 7, February 1993



SeaWeb Seafood SummitThe World’s Premier Conference on Seafood Sustainability, June 5-7, 2017, The Westin Seattle, Seattle, WA – US

Our oceans, our future: partnering for the implementation of SDG 14, UN Headquarters, New York, 5 to 9 June 2017

The high-level UN Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

CRGA 47 and 10th Pacific Community Conference

Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrations 47: 24–26 July 2017 and the 10th Conference of the Pacific Community: 27-28 July 2017, New Caledonia


Community Conservation Research Network

This website provides a focal point for knowledge sharing and capacity building on the interactions of communities, conservation and livelihoods, and, in particular, a hub for community-based conservation research and support initiatives around the world.

Enhancing the capacities of women fishworkers in India for the implementation of the SSF guidelines training programme, 21-23 November 2016, Chennai, India

Report is available at: